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Asia Minute: Indonesia is moving ahead with plans for a new capital city

Gunawan Kartapranata
Wikimedia Commons

Indonesia’s government has ambitious plans for its capital city. It plans to move it. The whole process will take more than 20 years, but the process has already started.

Jakarta is one of the oldest cities in Southeast Asia — a port dating back more than 1,700 years.

For several hundred years it was the colonial capital of the Dutch East Indies — known as Batavia.

Today, Jakarta is the most densely populated city on the world’s most densely populated island — Java.

It’s also sinking — and prone to flooding.

There are problems with overpopulation, air pollution and relentless traffic.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo first announced plans to move the capital of the country back in 2019 — but the pandemic put a hold on moving ahead with specifics.

Now, those plans are back in motion.

Last week, Indonesia’s parliament passed a law laying out a legal framework to relocate the capital to the province of East Kalimantan — on the island of Borneo.

The name of the new capital will be Nusantara — and the budget for initial construction will about $35 billion.

President Widodo says the presidential palace will be moved to the new capital before he completes his second term in office in 2024.

Also moving at that time will be the Home Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry.

He says the entire relocation project should be completed by the year 2045.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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